Whiz Kids Oklahoma, Oklahoma City
Years Matched: Four
Thelma Bratten has been a faithful mentor for all 10 years that the Meadowood Baptist Church and Crutcho Elementary Whiz Kids site has existed. A retired teacher, Bratten has been a mentor to Tre for four of those years and has forged a special bond with him.
“Thelma has been caring, patient and loving to Tre” said Amy Bruce, operations manager for Whiz Kids City Care. “He has come to know that she is there for him, always.” Bratten often takes mentees to dinner or to do a special activity and attends important school activities. She buys them books, calls, and sends them notes to let them know how much she cares about them. Under her care, the Whiz Kids staff started to see Tre open up, talk and smile.
Like many Whiz Kids and their mentors, the relationship between Tre and Bratten has continued even as Tre moved on to high school. “This year for Tre’s birthday, Thelma went to his school’s office with a card and cookies” Bruce recalled. “When Tre came to the office and saw Thelma he grabbed her and hugged her and told her he loves her.”
Tre often calls Thelma just to talk with her and share what is happening in his life, including his dream of becoming a mechanic.
In addition to Tre, Bratten has also mentored Jamarion and now Roosevelt. “She takes her mentoring seriously,” Bruce added. “Besides being a former teacher, she has the ability to really get to know her kids and their families.”
About the Program: For 23 years, Whiz Kids has been working with at-risk kids in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area to improve reading skills and comprehension and to foster mentoring relationships with caring adults. Whiz Kids sites are churches in each school’s community that donate their facility and provide tutors and an on-site coordinator.